Sapporo (札幌市 Sapporo-shi, Japanese: [sàppóró]) is the fifth largest city of Japan by population, and the largest city on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Located in Ishikari Subprefecture, it is the capital of Hokkaido Prefecture, and an ordinance-designated city of Japan.
Sapporo is also one of the nation’s youngest major cities. In 1857, the city’s population stood at just seven people.
In the beginning of the Meiji Period, when the development of Hokkaido was started on a large scale, Sapporo was chosen as the island’s administrative center and enlarged according to the advice of foreign specialists. Consequently, Sapporo was built based on a North American style rectangular street system.
Sapporo is known outside Japan for having hosted the 1972 Winter Olympics, the first ever held in Asia, and for the city’s annual Yuki Matsuri, internationally referred to as the Sapporo Snow Festival, which draws more than 2 million tourists from around the world. The city is also home to Sapporo Brewery, and the white chocolate biscuits called shiroi koibito (白い恋人, “white sweetheart”).